Who can apply

ACTPHAST4.0 is an open access program for any European company to apply for support with their innovation project using photonics.  ACTPHAST4.0 operates an open call for innovation project support requests from companies.

ACTPHAST4.0 is particularly geared towards supporting SMEs (small- and medium-sized enterprises, including start-up micro-enterprises of less than 10 employees), but will also support large-scale companies, especially those where photonics is not their core business and they may be innovating with photonics in their products for the first time.

Companies may be directly engaged in developing and producing photonics components or systems (i.e. photonics companies), or may develop and produce products which can incorporate photonics for enhanced functionality (i.e. photonics-enabled companies).

However in order to be approved for support, a company must first pass the eligibility criteria, and secondly must have their project proposal evaluated and scored by the ACTPHAST4.0 Technical Coordination Team (TCT) at one of its bi-monthly meetings. Only projects which are deemed eligible will have their proposals evaluated by the TCT, and only project proposals which receive an evaluation score above the threshold may eventually be approved for support.


Read the criteria that must be fulfilled in order to have a project proposal evaluated for ACTPHAST4.0 support.

Eligibility criteria

Read an overview of the criteria used by the ACTPHAST4.0 TCT.

Evaluation criteria

How it works in 8 simple steps

1 - Registration of interest

A company must make a formal initial request for support using the online registration form on the ACTPHAST4.0 website.

2 - Central Contact Point & Business Coach

All registrations of interest come through to the ACTPHAST .0 Central Contact Point (CCP) and are assigned to a Central Business Coach for rapid follow-up driven by the company's business need.

3 - Technical Coordination Team

Once qualified as a “potential” innovation project, the details of the request are passed to the ACTPHAST4.0 Technical Coordination Team (TCT) in order to identify and appoint the most suitable technical expert from the pool of up to 200 top photonics experts amongst the ACTPHAST4.0 Partners, who offers the best match with the requirements of the company.

4 - Scouting Engagement

Once a suitable expert is appointed to a project, the next step is for that person plus the Business Coach to arrange for an in-depth discussion with the company about the potential project under NDA and to jointly submit a scouting report.

5 - Innovation Project Proposal

If the scouting report provides a positive recommendation to proceed with a full project proposal, and this recommendation is accepted by the TCT, then a suitable person from the ACTPHAST4.0 Partners is selected and appointed to act as Project Leader to write the detailed proposal together with the Business Coach and the company.

6 - Evaluation Meeting

The ACTPHAST4.0 TCT members meet once every two months to evaluate submitted Innovation Project Proposals and decide which proposals should be approved for support.

7 - Contract

Where an innovation project is approved for support, the next step is the process of preparing and signing the contract document between all of the relevant parties to the project.

8 - Project Execution & Follow-Up

Once the contract is signed, the project commences with a formal kick-off meeting between all of the parties and project team members. The Business Coach stays in continuous contact for post-project follow-up on impact and to make connections with the Photonics Pilot Lines and Venture Forum where appropriate for full commercial exploitation of the innovation.

Submit your application     

or read more about how it works